The History of NABFEME

In the summer of 1999, with an extensive background in radio, film and recorded music... entertainment industry veteran Johnnie Walker  founded NABFEME, the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment, Inc.   The organization was launched at the 2000 Urban Network Music Conference in Palm Springs, CA. 

Following many industry related conferences, Ms Walker noted that most of these events rarely featured a female perspective or produced content that provided career support for women. Another note was many entertainment companies had few women in positions of power. This frustration, coupled with being a woman of color with aggressive career goals, fueled the concept for NABFEME. It was time to for a change, time to create a vehicle that would work to support and increase the awareness of women in entertainment, raise the profile of Black women in entertainment and provide opportunities for women to network, learn, be empowered and have access to industry leaders. Once the concept was formalized, the business and marketing plans developed, Walker recruited several women who from various disciplines within entertainment to become a part of the founding board… and NABFEME, the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment was born.

The organization was formed to create a support and empowerment resource base for professional women of color in music and entertainment. Based in New York, the focus of the organization was economic and career development for its members. The first meetings were held via teleconference and included Toni Bell, Michelle Madison, Gwen Priestly, Vanessa Barryer, Ramona Harrison-Hardy and Johnnie Walker. The original six were visionary women who understood the importance of lending their time, energy and experience to creating an organization that would be dedicated to empowering, mentoring and promoting women of color in entertainment.

After its launch at Urban Network, NABFEME introduced the Shero Hall of Fame, designed to honor leading women in entertainment whose career paths have opened doors for others. Next the NABFEME Mentor Connection was launched, a program that focused on members looking for mentors, and members willing to lead and serve as mentors. In 2001, NABFEME established the International Women’s Leadership Summit, a 3-day symposium that featured workshops, empowering sessions, gala events and access to entertainment leaders. In 2003, NABFEME set up the Donna M. Moore Scholarship Fund to provide students with the tools and resources needed to succeed in attaining a higher education and become the next generation of entertainment executives.  2003 witnessed the birth of WOMEN WHO JAM! a popular all female national music showcase designed to provide a promotional outlet and gathering place for groundbreaking female entertainers and musicians. In 2006 NABFEME Prep, a voluntary partnership between entertainment industry professionals and business community leaders was created to bring accomplished executives into the classroom.

Today, NABFEME has evolved into a first-class worldwide organization with 20 active NABFEME Networks and satellite offices around the globe boasting over 3000 members and associates. Remaining constant with the organization has been the vision and the values that were conceived at the very first meeting of the women of NABFEME.

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